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Spell-like abilities are standard actions regardless of casting time, right?


Rules Questions


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

So, I was discussing how terrible the First Worlder archetype is, and then I realized that the casting time for Spell-Like Abilities is unclear.

From the Bestiary: "Using all other [meaning not "Constant"]spell-like abilities is a standard action unless noted otherwise"
From the Core Book:"A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description."

First off, let's agree that those two statements are meant to be functionally identical. When a Duergar uses her Enlarge Person SLA, it should not matter if you wrote that ability down from the Advanced Race Guide or the Bestiary.

"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here". It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead". That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise - they don't, every single spell has casting time listed.


Quote:
A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description."

If it notes otherwise in the spell description, then it isn't a standard action any more.

There are spell-like abilities that don't match a spell, though not many (e.g., several cleric domain powers). Those would be standard actions, again unless noted in the ability description. You still have to look up the spell just like you do if a monster stat block includes actual spell casting ability.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

This is why the Feather Fall aspect of the Witch's Flight Hex is basically useless.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nefreet wrote:
This is why the Feather Fall aspect of the Witch's Flight Hex is basically useless.

Since it references feather fall, I'd feel confident that the spell description is sufficient to qualify for the "unless otherwise noted in the ability description" clause for supernatural abilities. The ability references the spell, and the spell notes the action required.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So a Duergar's Enlarge Person SLA also takes 1 round to use, since "The ability references the spell, and the spell notes the action required"?


Unless the ability says otherwise, yes.

Similarly, an obcisidaemon has quickened spell turning as a spell-like ability. This is a swift action, not a standard action; the fact that it's a SLA is irrelevant.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

But then we're back to Pupsocket's initial query:

Pupsocket wrote:
"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here". It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead". That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise - they don't, every single spell has casting time listed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pupsocket wrote:


From the Core Book:"A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description."

[... snip ...]

"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here".

I don't think so. It says "unless noted otherwise in the ... spell description." I don't see any implication that the spell descriptions are right here.

Quote:
It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead".

Actually, I think that's exactly what it means.

Quote:
That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise

Which, oddly enough, is a fairly standard assumption. The "Actions in Table," for example, lists "cast a spell" as one of the standard actions, along with "channel energy" and "read a scroll."


Nefreet wrote:

But then we're back to Pupsocket's initial query:

Pupsocket wrote:
"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here".

... which is obviously wrong, since it explictly says "unless otherwise noted in another document that is not right here, to wit, the spell description."

The general rules explicitly gives two locations where the notation can be:
1) the spell description
2) the ability description

At least one of those locations, by the pigeonhole principle, is not "right here."


Most spells take a standard action to cast, unless otherwise noted.

Spell-like abilities take as long to use as the relevant spell takes to cast.

Most spell-like abilities take a standard action to use, unless otherwise noted.

Note the Magic chapter actually explicitly says this: "Most spells have a casting time of 1 standard action." So there shouldn't be any concern with the implication that one should assume spells have casting times of 1 standard action unless otherwise noted.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Nefreet wrote:

But then we're back to Pupsocket's initial query:

Pupsocket wrote:
"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here". It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead". That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise - they don't, every single spell has casting time listed.

As blahpers pointed out, not all SLAs are based on spells, so there needs to be a default action for those when you can't look up the casting time of the spell.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Also, it's not quite true that every spell lists a casting time, though most do.

I believe the intent of this is fairly clear:

If the spell-like-ability lists a casting time use that. Otherwise, if it's based on a spell, which lists a casting time, use that. Otherwise it's a standard action.


Yeah, you're probably right. Man, I wish there was money for editors in this business...

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1 person marked this as a favorite.
RainyDayNinja wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

But then we're back to Pupsocket's initial query:

Pupsocket wrote:
"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here". It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead". That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise - they don't, every single spell has casting time listed.
As blahpers pointed out, not all SLAs are based on spells, so there needs to be a default action for those when you can't look up the casting time of the spell.

This.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

After talking about this the other day, I'm pretty sure the intent is to go by the casting time of the spell. Drow Nobles have feather fall at will, but if it takes a standard action to cast, then they might as well not have it.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
This is why the Feather Fall aspect of the Witch's Flight Hex is basically useless.

Just realized I got these two arguments mixed up.

I was thinking of the debate about (Su) abilities, like the Witch's Flight Hex, being standard actions, unless otherwise noted. That's where I've heard people claim the Witch can't use Feather Fall as an immediate action.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

How about the Summon spell-like ability in the Universal Monster Rules then?

PRD wrote:
Summon (Sp) A creature with the summon ability can summon other specific creatures of its kind much as though casting a summon monster spell, but it usually has only a limited chance of success (as specified in the creature's entry). Roll d%: On a failure, no creature answers the summons. Summoned creatures automatically return whence they came after 1 hour. A creature summoned in this way cannot use any spells or spell-like abilities that require material components costing more than 1 gp unless those components are supplied, nor can it use its own summon ability for 1 hour. An appropriate spell level is given for each summoning ability for purposes of Will saves, caster level checks, and concentration checks. No experience points are awarded for defeating summoned monsters.


The first worlders sla ability should be a full round. This is a small price to pay though as they seem to have no limits on the number out at once and can have their eidolon out.


Majuba wrote:

How about the Summon spell-like ability in the Universal Monster Rules then?

PRD wrote:
Summon (Sp) A creature with the summon ability can summon other specific creatures of its kind much as though casting a summon monster spell, but it usually has only a limited chance of success (as specified in the creature's entry). Roll d%: On a failure, no creature answers the summons. Summoned creatures automatically return whence they came after 1 hour. A creature summoned in this way cannot use any spells or spell-like abilities that require material components costing more than 1 gp unless those components are supplied, nor can it use its own summon ability for 1 hour. An appropriate spell level is given for each summoning ability for purposes of Will saves, caster level checks, and concentration checks. No experience points are awarded for defeating summoned monsters.

I'll have to make sure my demons teleport away before summoning in the future.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Just be sure it's not too far away, since the summoned Demon can't teleport back with its master.


If the summoned demon also has greater teleport, he should be able to.


Robert A Matthews wrote:
If the summoned demon also has greater teleport, he should be able to.

No; summoned creatures can't use their own teleportation or summoning abilities (or any abilities that would have an expensive material component if it was a spell).

Edit: That's according to summon monster, which the summon ability references.

Personally, I treat a monster's summon ability as a standard action, for the simple reason that a full-round ability with a 50% chance of working (or less) would almost never be worth the risk of using unless the creature can use the ability before the encounter begins.

Of course, most summon abilities have rather large issues, anyway. For instance, you wouldn't think an encounter with a single ice devil would be equal to an encounter with 1 ice devil and 2 bone devils, but if the ice devil uses its summon ability, there's a 50% chance of either. Not to mention something like the nalfeshnee, which is very swingy.. I'd prefer it if all summon abilities were 100% and were balanced accordingly.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
PRD wrote:
A summoned monster cannot summon or otherwise conjure another creature, nor can it use any teleportation or planar travel abilities.

EDIT: ninja'd


Are wrote:
Robert A Matthews wrote:
If the summoned demon also has greater teleport, he should be able to.

No; summoned creatures can't use their own teleportation or summoning abilities (or any abilities that would have an expensive material component if it was a spell).

Ah. Ok, so teleport to the next room then.


Ok... let's see if we can get one of the BIG BRAINS to answer this rather than bandying it about among ourselves...

A noble drow gets feather fall as a spell-like ability; spell-like abilities require a standard action to activate UNLESS it says otherwise in the spell DESCRIPTION. Nothing in the description (section) of feather fall states nothing about the immediacy of the action (that is actually part of the casting section).

Not going to bandy about this section and that section... Just a firm straight forward answer (hopefully from someone like James Jacobs, ie a BIG BRAIN)...

Is the activation of the noble drow's feather fall ability considered an immediate action (ie., he has a standard action remaining) or is it a standard action (ie., no standard action remaining)? I ask because if it is the first he can effectively use two standard actions in the round (feather fall and something else even another spell-like ability) while if it is the second, he is much more limited in what he can do?

Bueller? Bueller? Er, I mean Big Brain, Big Brain...


Jiggy wrote:
RainyDayNinja wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

But then we're back to Pupsocket's initial query:

Pupsocket wrote:
"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here". It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead". That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise - they don't, every single spell has casting time listed.
As blahpers pointed out, not all SLAs are based on spells, so there needs to be a default action for those when you can't look up the casting time of the spell.
This.

Yep, that's my understanding of it.


Feather fall has a casting time of immediate.

"Casting Time 1 immediate action".

Which counts as your swift action the next round.

Which is not a standard action. Standard actions .at not be used to take a swift action.

It activates as an immediate action. Or swift if it happens during his turn. (Such as he jumps out of a tree)


graystone wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
RainyDayNinja wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

But then we're back to Pupsocket's initial query:

Pupsocket wrote:
"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here". It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead". That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise - they don't, every single spell has casting time listed.
As blahpers pointed out, not all SLAs are based on spells, so there needs to be a default action for those when you can't look up the casting time of the spell.
This.
Yep, that's my understanding of it.

2014


Cavall wrote:
graystone wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
RainyDayNinja wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

But then we're back to Pupsocket's initial query:

Pupsocket wrote:
"Unless otherwise noted" means "unless otherwise noted right here". It certainly doesn't mean "standard action, except you look up the casting time for every single spell and use that instead". That interpretation would make the entire "standard action unless otherwise noted" pointless, and would furthermore assume that spells had a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise - they don't, every single spell has casting time listed.
As blahpers pointed out, not all SLAs are based on spells, so there needs to be a default action for those when you can't look up the casting time of the spell.
This.
Yep, that's my understanding of it.
2014

Yep, it was still relevant so I agreed as an answer to Grey Sage. No need to say anything else when someone else did the work for me. :)


Ok. Sure.


Cavall wrote:
Ok. Sure.

LOL Ok, thread-necro police. :P

I noticed the date when I saw Orfamay Quest's postings as I haven't seen him on the threads for a few months, and glanced at the date then. I hope we have better things to debate about than thread necro posts.

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Grey Sage wrote:
A noble drow gets feather fall as a spell-like ability; spell-like abilities require a standard action to activate UNLESS it says otherwise in the spell DESCRIPTION

It would be an immediate action, since the casting time of feather fall is an immediate action.

A few other races have immediate action SLAs as well, such as the Sylph getting windy escape.

Wouldn't make much sense if it could only be used as a standard action, now would it?

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